Knicks Only Have 1 Player That ‘Should Be Off Limits in Trade Talks’

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Getty Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks have proven to be one of the most efficient two-way clubs in the entire association this season, and their seventh-ranked net rating certainly backs up such a sentiment.

However, when it comes to their offseason plans, the folks at Bleacher Report seem to believe there’s only one player on Tom Thibodeau’s roster that should be viewed as “untouchable,” and writer Greg Swartz believes that player is Jalen Brunson.

“Few moves from the 2022 offseason have paid off as much as the signing of Brunson. The 26-year-old point guard has the Knicks on the verge of advancing past the Cleveland Cavaliers and into the second round of the playoffs thanks to his 24.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the series. While Julius Randle was the lone All-Star on this New York roster, no one impacts winning and checks as many boxes as Brunson,” Swartz wrote.

Swartz would continue by noting that while the Knicks have several quality young talents within their arsenal, with guys like RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Quentin Grimes all being mentioned, he would cap off his stance by stating “no player should be off limits in trade talks this summer besides the Knicks’ new star point guard.”

Jalen Brunson has been absolutely electric during his inaugural season in New York. Through 68 games played, the 26-year-old has posted tremendous averages of 24.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 49.1% from the field and 41.6% from deep.

On top of his counting stats, Brunson ranked first on the Knicks in box plus-minus, offensive box plus-minus, and win shares throughout the 2022-23 regular season.

Jalen Brunson Keeping Knicks In Check With 3-1 Series Lead

Not only did the Knicks manage to attain their second postseason berth since 2012-13 during Jalen Brunson’s first season with the club, but they also find themselves on the verge of winning their second playoff series since 1999-2000.

With a statement win in Game 4 Sunday afternoon, New York is currently up 3-1 in their best-of-seven quarterfinals matchup against the fifth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now, while their position is certainly envious and has them favored to win the whole series in Wednesday’s Game 5, during his postgame interview following their latest bout, Brunson urged his Knicks to not get too comfortable with their series lead.

“It’s not over,” Brunson said. “It’s not even close to being over. We’ll continue to keep focusing on one day at a time, and there’s nothing to celebrate. There’s nothing to be truly happy about, so, obviously, we’d won tonight and be one step closer, but we have to continue to have that same mindset,  mentality that we have over the past couple of games.”

Brunson would continue by urging his team not to “think about closing it out” but, rather, focus on the fact that “we’re going to the hostile environment, and they’re going to play desperate, and we just gotta be able to bring it, and we gotta focus on one possession, one quarter at a time and just keep building off that and then keep fighting and we’ll go from there.’”

Four games into his first postseason as a member of the Knicks, the point guard finds himself posting stellar averages of 24.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.2 steals while shooting 45.7% from the field.

Knicks Star Julius Randle Breaks Silence on Game 4 Benching

From an overall standpoint, Sunday’s Game 4 was a magnificent team effort by the Knicks and, in turn, has them just one win away from advancing to their first semifinal appearance since 2013.

However, for Julius Randle, it was certainly a night to forget as far as individual performances are concerned.

After struggling immensely on both ends of the floor through 27 minutes of action, the All-Star forward was pulled from the game late in the third period and sat out the entirety of the fourth.

Though he did not attend a post-game media session to take questions from the media, during Tuesday’s post-practice interview Randle finally broke his silence on the late-game benching.

“It was [Tom Thibodeau’s] decision,” Julius Randle said via Newsday. “At the end of the day, I just want to win. You know I’m a competitor and want to be out there, but like I said, it’s Thibs’ decision.”

Randle would finish off Game 4 with a lowly stat line of just 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block while shooting 30.0% from the field.